GHOST – The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA: May 4, 2018
The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood is one of the coolest venues in the strip! It is especially the perfect venue when a band that normally plays large venues, wants to play a more intimate set. Not too small, not too big, and well maintained with a cool vibe. GHOST played their first ever U.S. show in this venue back in 2012 and since then have played mostly larger venues or have been support to arena-sized artists.
With a capacity of only 450 people, a sold out night means the place is jammed packed and everyone is hot and sweating, no matter what the weather outside is. Promptly around 9pm, soft church organs begun. This took me back to my childhood days in a hot, overfilled mass on a scorching day. ‘The service has begun’ is what was the idea as everyone started to quiet down and face the stage. This went on for a while, everyone anxious for the show to start, when suddenly around 9:23 pm, a live stream from GHOST’s official Instagram begun.
The stream was happening from what seemed to be the back seat of a hearse driving on Sunset Blvd. So they weren’t here yet? No, it was apparent now that the show hadn’t started yet because the band was stuck in traffic. Yes, Los Angeles is known for its traffic, usually in the top 5 of worse traffic in the world. However, as it’s been reported by numerous sources all over the web, L.A. has held the championship of worse traffic in the world for 6 years now, as of 2018. Hurray! It seems like not even Cardinal Copia, with all his powers, and the team of ghouls, were not able to prevent becoming victims of the vicious beast that our traffic is.
Those that were following the stream saw when the band finally arrived The Roxy. At this point the stream was choppy but we all knew that the band made it, was backstage, and the show would start soon. Would this whole thing be part of their big entrance? They started live streaming again when they were on stage but the curtain was still down. It was too choppy so I turned it off. At this point the soft church organs were still going and very seamlessly transitioned to ‘Ashes’, the first song of the night. I knew this was it because I was fortunate enough to attend the official listening session for their new album ‘PREQUELLE’ and the ghastly sound of those little girls singing ‘Ring Around The Rosie’ is something I’ll never forget.
Just like in the album, ‘Ashes’ goes right into the first single of the new album ‘Rats’, and then everyone started crowding up towards the front, headbaging. Although technically the second song of the night, this marks the official beginning of the GHOST’s service for the night.
The third song, ‘Absolution’, begun without pause. The crowd was squeezing more and more forward. The Cardinal was not afraid to get close to the crowd at all. He was standing at the very edge of the stage, close enough for a girl in the audience to reach out and touch his hair and scream! After ‘Absolution’, they went right into ‘Ritual’, one from the band’s debut album ‘Opus Eponymous’. This was a crowd favourite! The entire floor looked like a sea of headbangers. This is the song that got many GHOST cult diehards into them in the first place, before the band exploded. The Cardinal was enjoying the crowd’s energy and was giving the first and second rows high fives!
Once this song ended, Cardinal exited the stage briefly as the rest of the band continued to play the slow and mystifying intro of their Grammy award winner- ‘Cirice’. Even though this was a slower song, it somehow unified the crowd more. The lyrics were being emotionally sung not only by Cardinal, but by the whole crowd. The herbal smell of weed circulated the steamy ambiance. The Cardinal gracefully danced a flowy theatrical sway during the solo. Then came what seemed to be the part that everyone was waiting for – “can’t you see that you’re lost…without me!” Then, just like in the music video, hell broke loose. With so many great Ghost songs, I never quite understood why THIS was the Grammy winner (not that I EVER understand their choices) but now I can see it. The song makes some people very emotional.
After such a massive mix of emotions in the room, the band took a great direction with ‘Prime Mover’, a much livelier song from their debut. It seems that everyone knew the lyrics to this one as well. The headbanging commenced once again. After this song ended the room went pitch black.
Shortly after, the lights came on and it was Cardinal Copia’s first time addressing the crowd in the night, more than halfway through the setlist. He wanted to apologize for the heat and talk to us a little bit about the new album. Then he proceeded to ask if we wanted it to go soft or hard. Oh dear. Cardinal and Papa Emeritus seem to have a lot in common when it comes to teasing their live audiences 😉 He then introduced the next song, which was ‘Faith’. This was the live debut of a track that comes off their upcoming album. This song is HEAVY! Probably one of the heaviest Ghost songs and one of my favourites from their catalogue. It has a pretty crazy beginning, some parts with aggressive vocals, and of course, a catchy chorus because it’s Ghost, after all. Check out the video recorded by our very own, Richard Cadaver, here:
The crowd dug it! The band kept the energy going with ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’ from their third album ‘Meliora’. The headbanging continued and at this point the ceiling was already dripping from the heat. The song ended and Cardinal Copia went on to say this was “one of the hottest shows’. He then reminded the crowd of their infamous 2012 North American debut there. That was also a very sold out show with a drippy ceiling. But he said he doesn’t know, because he “wasn’t here.” Well played, Cardinal Copia, well played!
It was time for another new song. This is another one I reaaaally enjoyed off the new album. ‘Dance Macabre’ is such a catchy, cryptic ‘love’ song with a very heavy ‘Opus Eponymous’ vibe but kind of 80s also. I dig it, the audience dug it. I can see this song being a single and making it big. Check out the song/video, once again recorded by Richard Cadaver, here:
Keeping the catchy ghoulishness going, the band swiftly went into ‘Square Hammer’, the last song of the night. This was a good choice for a closing song because it leaves everyone pumped and feeling great!
The band took a bow. Wow, what a great night! Ghost always knows how to deliver. It’s amazing that this warm up show to their tour was announced about 36 hours before its occurrence. Tickets went on sale for it at noon, show day, only in person at Ghost’s pop up store, temporarily inside the second floor of The Roxy. The first person in line arrived around 6pm the night before the show, just a few hours after it’s announcement. Our team arrived at 11:30pm the night before, a bit over 12 hours before schedule on-sale time. Even like this, the show sold out before everyone in line was able to get tickets, many were turned away. It was extra special to see Ghost in an intimate setting once again!
With angelical ethereal music, the curtain closes.
Stand By Him
From The Pinnacle To The Pit